Review: Ipswich Orchestral Society - Summer Concert,

Ipswich Orchestral Society - Summer Concert, Ipswich Corn Exchange, Saturday, 30 June

This concert forms part of the Ipswich Arts Festival and commenced, appropriately enough, in festival mood.

The Cuban Overture by Georges Gershwin, with its rumba dance rhythms evokes all the elements and atmosphere of Carnival time. The orchestra, on good form, clearly enjoyed the ebullient spirit of the music which they performed with gusto.

Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, which followed, also embodies Latin American Dance rhythms and jazz as well as the contrasting romantic interludes. The loud passages were occasionally overwhelming maybe due to the volume or, more likely, because they were very heavily scored. The quiet sections were sensitively played and the Adagio Finale was exquisite.

Conductor Adam Gatehouse directed the orchestra with his usual assurance. His stage presence and interesting informative introductions are so relevant and interesting.

In complete contrast the remaining two items on the programme were totally English.

The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams, was played by guest violin soloist, Jennifer Pike. Her evocative performance enchanted the near- capacity audience; their tumultuous applause was rewarded with Jennifer playing – unaccompanied - the Preludio from Bach’s Partita in E major.

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Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme ‘Enigma’, Opus 36 was, for me, the highlight of a splendid evening.

Judith Newman

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